Northeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 2-2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


WEEDEN, Lori, Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, UMass Lowell, 1 University Avenue, 1 University Ave, Lowell, MA 01854

Geology for Engineers is a required science course of Civil and Environmental Engineers at UMass Lowell. The course meets twice a week for 50 minutes of lecture material and two hours of recitation where basic lab exercises are completed. The first iteration of the course was heavy on engineering components and was designed with the assumption that students majoring in civil engineering would have a solid understanding of basic geologic principles. This initial design was not successful and student interest and grades were low. The next time the course was taught, a pre-test was administered to gauge the students’ incoming geologic knowledge. The results indicated very little understanding of geologic concepts, with a pretest average of 35%. Given this obvious deficit in their understanding of geology, the course was redesigned to address basic geology. The grades improved, but their interest was still low. The course was further redesigned to include specific case studies. This addition seems to have worked. Attendance has improved, as has their clear understanding of the material. It would appear the engineering students did not fully understand the importance of geology until examples showing cases where ignoring geology led to disaster. Future classes will incorporate the hands-on lab work into a flipped classroom setting. This interaction should promote inclusive understanding unlike the group work setting of the current recitation.